Choosing the Right Scope Rings

Choosing the right scope ring can be critical for all rifle shooters. Selecting reliable and correctly manufactured riflescope rings to pair with your rifle scope is paramount for achieving optimal performance and saving you money and time! Continue reading for two industry secrets on money savings. This guide covers explicitly everything you need to know about scope mounts and scope rings, ensuring quality and confidence in your choice.

What Are Scope Rings?

Scope rings are the devices that secure an optic to the firearm. Various styles, sizes, and models are available, designed to mount scopes to rifles securely. There are different methods the scope rings can attach to the firearm, different sizes of rings for scope tube diameters, multiple variations of “types/designs,” and materials and finishes used. With so many different scope rings on the market that, for the most part, all serve one purpose of securing the rifle scope, what sets them apart, and why would specific scope rings be better suited for certain rifle shooting applications? They are vital tools for professional shooters, hunters, and recreational shooters alike. The wrong rings can completely ruin your chances of an accurate rifle, so choosing the right one is essential.

Scope rings

Types of Scope Rings: A Comparative Overview

XLR Industries is known for our top-quality precision rifle chassis systems, but many do not know we have many accessories, including precision scope rings! We only offer one model/type for different diameter scope tubes in two different heights. To effectively give a comparative overview of rings, it will be necessary to cover other industry brands with offerings different than XLR’s. These brands are industry leaders in scope ring manufacturing, such as Sphur, Hawkins Precision, Talley, Warne, and Nightforce, to name a few. Understanding each type's specifications, design, and price will guide you to the best fit for your firearm and scope. 

Critical Considerations in Scope Rings Material and Design

Quality is paramount. Materials range from steel to lightweight aluminum, each with unique weight and specifications. The design can include integrated bubble levels, provisions for accessories, one VS two-piece rings and quick detach levers.

Durability and Material Choices

For many years shooters were told that they needed scope rings made out of steel to hold up to abuse and secure their expensive scope. You will find that the majority of the rings offered and used by the best shooters in the world are aluminum, and that is because the false pretense of steel being better has been proven inaccurate for scope rings and bases. Some will still prefer steel, and some companies like Nightforce and Warne offer steel scope rings. Brands like XLR Industries, Hawkins, Vortex, and others carry aluminum scope rings.

One Piece VS Two Piece Scope Mounts

We will not go too in-depth on this comparison as it can become oppinionistic. We will discuss that for many years, one piece was considered superior for securing the scope under abuse and alignment between the two contact areas. What does this mean? Well, if you have two scope rings and they are not perfectly aligned due to them not being machined perfectly, or possibly the scope base being used like a Picatinny rail is off, or even worse, the action itself not being perfect. Any one of these can cause them to be misaligned, and in some cases, all three instances can be at play, compounding the end result and making it even worse. Why is that bad? Well, it will induce torque into the scope tube when the clamps are tightened, causing stress on the internals of the scope, which will cause the functions of the scope to most likely not operate correctly and consistently. So for many years and still today, shooters will lap the scope rings making sure the surface area perfectly aligns with each other. Now in our and many other manufacturers' opinion, this is not as big of a deal in the precision rifle scene as it used to. That is because the machining processes, tools, and standards have come a LONG way. But that doesn't mean everything mentioned above is completely irrelevant for scope rings/mounts it just means you can have quality one and two-piece mounts! 

More details to follow below.

The Connection Between Scope Rings and Rifle Scopes

How Scope Rings Affect Scope Alignment

A properly designed and machined scope ring ensures that the rifle scope is kept secure and the rings do not induce any stress into the scope or damage it, causing faulty operation. This leads us to the first industry secret! And it is simple, follow the instructions from scope ring and rifle scope manufacturers when it comes to the torque value the rings need to be tightened to. Many consumers over-tighten scope rings, causing damage, which costs you money!! Not only in all the ammunition fired, wondering why you might have accuracy issues but also leading to either warranty of the scope or possibly having to buy a new one depending on the manufacturer. Misaligned or bent rings can affect your rifle’s accuracy. 

Selecting the Correct Size and Height

Clearance, weight, and ring diameter must be considered when selecting scope ring sizes. 

  • Scope Ring Weight: Starting with weight as a starting point, determining if you are trying to keep the rifle lightweight will help tailor your search for lightweight scope rings, which most will be two-piece, and aluminum scope rings will be the best route. If weight is not a concern, then the options really open up!
  • Scope Ring Diameter: Next, we will want to check the tube diameter of the scope intended to be used on the rifle. Three common ring sizes are 1 Inch, 30MM, and 34MM. But there is a trend in the larger long-range scopes to have 35MM, 36MM, and even some 37MM out there. So make sure you know this information.
  • Scope Ring Height: This will be important to ensure the size of the rifle's scope objective does not make contact with either the barrel or enclosed forend/handguard of the rifle. Other clearance might need to be considered for some scope designs on certain rifle action and scope bases.

Methods of Attaching Rifle Scopes to Firearms

Compatibility with Various Types of Firearms

Understanding the mounting requirements is essential, whether for military, hunting, competition or rimfire rifles. There can be multiple methods of attaching the scope rings to the rifle. 

  1. Picatinny Scope Base: The most common is going to be utilizing a Picatinny rail. If you look at your high-end custom rifle actions, they will have a Picatinny rail integrated into the receiver as the scope base for rings. This gives the shooter one of the most secure methods of attaching your high-end glass to a firearm and the most versatile in how/where it is mounted, and lastly gives you the most flexibility on what scope rings are used due to the popularity. 
  2. Weaver Scope Base: Weaver developed a system for mounting optics and other sighting devices for not only rifles but also shotguns and pistols. A dovetail-like rail that allows the scope ring to clamp onto and, like a Picatinny rail, will have at least one machined groove that allows the recoil bar most scope rings will have to slide into. 
  3. Leupold Scope Base(s): Leupold is world renowned for their rifle scopes and other optics. Why wouldn't they manufacture scope rings and bases of their own design? We will not go into depth on the differences, but here are the offerings from Leupold. Standard Leupold mount, Duel Dovetail, and Quick Release.
  4. Forward Cantilever: This is a common scope base and scope ring combination commonly used on AR15 style or other modern sporting rifles. 
  5. Integrated Dovetail: Some rifle manufacturers mill groves on the top of the receiver creating a dovetail connection point for scope rings to clamp onto. This can be very common with rimfire rifles and foreign rifle makers. The most common dovetail sizes are 11mm, 13mm and ⅜”. 
  6. Direct Mount Rings: Last but not least, you can find scope rings that will bolt directly on top of the rifle receiver using the provision drilled and tapped for scope bases. The weight-conscious backcountry hunter commonly uses this method to eliminate one more component and weight. Scope ring manufacturers will not offer rings compatible with every rifle. Companies like Hawkins, Leupold, and Talley are popular for this offering. 

Find the Perfect Fit Scope Rings at XLR Industries

Explore our premium scope rings, specifically designed to meet the needs of professional and recreational shooters alike. Consult our experienced team to find the perfect fit for your rifle scope. Our USA-based company ensures that your needs are covered with American-made products. Contact XLR Industries today for unmatched quality and expertise.